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Fire_Medic
10-17-2008, 19:23
I've always wanted to serve, but now with a new baby, wife, and a firefighter civilian job, the best option I see is to join the guard. I wanted to know if there are any guard members out there who could shed some light on how things are. I'm currently a firefighter/paramedic locally here in Miami/Fl. I will be coming in as a medic E-3, but maybe E-4 if I can renew my national EMT license quick enough. I plan on applying for OCS in another year after I have more credits in school. Any contructive thought or ideas are welcomed.

Thanks :supergrin:

Biscuitsjam
10-18-2008, 08:30
There's lots of discussion about it here if you browse through the forum.

You'll probably be given the options of a 3-year or 6-year National Guard contract. That means that you'll be on drilling status for 3 or 6 years, then in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) for 5 or 2 years, respectively. A portion of soldiers get called back to duty from IRR when there is a shortage of a particular MOS with deploying units.

In the Guard, you'll be obligated to attend "drill" every month at your unit's armory. Most times, drill will be Saturday and Sunday, but you may sometimes have a 3-day or 4-day drill. At drill, you'll have powerpoint classes, hands-on training, admin stuff, and tactical exercises. In most units, it's somewhat hard to get excused from drill.

Once per year, you'll have "annual training" which lasts from 15 to 30 days. At this training, you'll go to a military base instead of your armory, and you should have a very densely-packed training schedule. It is often very difficult to get excused from annual training.

Periodically, you'll be asked to attend military schools. These are voluntary, but if you turn them down, you'll seriously harm your chances at promotion. I don't know what schools are available to medics, but there are lots of kinds out there - "highspeed" ones like airborne, air assault, ranger, mountain warfare, pathfinder, and "lowspeed" ones like mail handler, LRAS turret maintenance, blue force tracker operator, and so on. If at all possible, attend whatever's offered, even if it sounds boring.

About 1 year of every 3, you'll be activated under federal orders, often (but not always) to Iraq or Afghanistan. Most units get 6 months notice beforehand. A typical tour might be 2 months trainup, 9.5 months in-country, and 2 weeks traindown. Additionally, for a few months before you deploy, your monthly drill training will probably double or more.

Out of a 6-year service obligation, I'll have spent 3 years on active duty (4 months initial training, 18 months Iraq tour, 14 months Afghanistan tour) and an additional 6 months in uniform for my regular guard obligation (drill, annual training, schools). I think the typical enlistment will be about 50% in uniform.

At any time, you can apply for OCS, and you have a very good chance of being approved. However, many soldiers that first enlist choose to stay enlisted because of the comradery, the ability to do stuff hands-on, and some of the BS that officers have to deal with. Officers, however, get better pay, better benefits, and more respect in the civilian world.

I strongly recommend the National Guard and I have no regrets about joining. It's a very big obligation, so know what you're getting into. Good luck.

Fire_Medic
10-18-2008, 09:18
There's lots of discussion about it here if you browse through the forum.

You'll probably be given the options of a 3-year or 6-year National Guard contract. That means that you'll be on drilling status for 3 or 6 years, then in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) for 5 or 2 years, respectively. A portion of soldiers get called back to duty from IRR when there is a shortage of a particular MOS with deploying units.

In the Guard, you'll be obligated to attend "drill" every month at your unit's armory. Most times, drill will be Saturday and Sunday, but you may sometimes have a 3-day or 4-day drill. At drill, you'll have powerpoint classes, hands-on training, admin stuff, and tactical exercises. In most units, it's somewhat hard to get excused from drill.

Once per year, you'll have "annual training" which lasts from 15 to 30 days. At this training, you'll go to a military base instead of your armory, and you should have a very densely-packed training schedule. It is often very difficult to get excused from annual training.

Periodically, you'll be asked to attend military schools. These are voluntary, but if you turn them down, you'll seriously harm your chances at promotion. I don't know what schools are available to medics, but there are lots of kinds out there - "highspeed" ones like airborne, air assault, ranger, mountain warfare, pathfinder, and "lowspeed" ones like mail handler, LRAS turret maintenance, blue force tracker operator, and so on. If at all possible, attend whatever's offered, even if it sounds boring.

About 1 year of every 3, you'll be activated under federal orders, often (but not always) to Iraq or Afghanistan. Most units get 6 months notice beforehand. A typical tour might be 2 months trainup, 9.5 months in-country, and 2 weeks traindown. Additionally, for a few months before you deploy, your monthly drill training will probably double or more.

Out of a 6-year service obligation, I'll have spent 3 years on active duty (4 months initial training, 18 months Iraq tour, 14 months Afghanistan tour) and an additional 6 months in uniform for my regular guard obligation (drill, annual training, schools). I think the typical enlistment will be about 50% in uniform.

At any time, you can apply for OCS, and you have a very good chance of being approved. However, many soldiers that first enlist choose to stay enlisted because of the comradery, the ability to do stuff hands-on, and some of the BS that officers have to deal with. Officers, however, get better pay, better benefits, and more respect in the civilian world.

I strongly recommend the National Guard and I have no regrets about joining. It's a very big obligation, so know what you're getting into. Good luck.

Thank you very much for your input. I am aware of what I'm getting into, my stepfather is a retired Lt.Colonel and 2 of my buddies from high school have been in the army then the guard since we got out of high school. As far as drills and deployments, we get 15 24-hour shifts off paid for military leave each calendar year and if we were to get activated we have up to 2 years off for that in which the department will pay us the difference between our military pay and civilian pay.

I have always wanted to serve and for personal reasons was not able to before, but want to now, and think it will be a great opportunity. I just always like to get opinions from outside the box (my head) on things I will be doing. And figured I might get some good unbiased responses from fellow GT members who are/have been in.

:cool:

Biscuitsjam
10-18-2008, 09:38
I'd recommend that you find out a little about the unit that you'll be joining if possible.

What's their primary mission?
Have they deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan recently?
Are they likely to deploy again soon?

Otherwise, when you get back from BASIC, you might find:
A) Everybody just deployed to Afghanistan. You missed this tour, so you'll need to wait 3 years for the next one.

OR

B) You got there just in time - two weeks until you start your year-long tour.

As I understand it, about half the units in Florida are getting activated within the next 3-6 months for Afghanistan. The other half of units will be on different schedules. You should get to choose which unit you go to, if you want.

Fire_Medic
10-18-2008, 13:35
I'd recommend that you find out a little about the unit that you'll be joining if possible.

What's their primary mission?
Have they deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan recently?
Are they likely to deploy again soon?

Otherwise, when you get back from BASIC, you might find:
A) Everybody just deployed to Afghanistan. You missed this tour, so you'll need to wait 3 years for the next one.

OR

B) You got there just in time - two weeks until you start your year-long tour.

As I understand it, about half the units in Florida are getting activated within the next 3-6 months for Afghanistan. The other half of units will be on different schedules. You should get to choose which unit you go to, if you want.

The info I have received is not 100% but it looks like the unit I will be with will be deploying early next year, but I heard to Kuwait for VIP transports. There are 2 units, one is an infantry unit, and the other a medical unit. I will find out next week which unit I'll be attached to.

And I'm not sure when to leave for basic, I have to finalize that decision with my wife. I'm either going to miss the holidays, or my daughters first birthday. I myself rather go and get it over with, but I'm trying to come to a compromise with the Mrs.

Fire_Medic
10-18-2008, 15:58
Recruiter sent me a shout, I will be a medic attached to the headquarters unit of a light infantry division. :supergrin:

Biscuitsjam
10-19-2008, 22:18
Good luck. If you have any more specific questions, we'll be happy to answer them here.

Fire_Medic
10-20-2008, 08:25
Good luck. If you have any more specific questions, we'll be happy to answer them here.

Thanks, my only dilemma right now is whether to sign up E-3 with my spot guaranteed, or to roll the dice and wait to renew my cert and come in E-4, but then my spot might not be there. The recruiters are having issues getting the same spot back for the same person if they didn't take it when it was available. Looks like I'm going to MEPS for my physical either Wednesday or Thursday.

Biscuitsjam
10-20-2008, 08:59
Thanks, my only dilemma right now is whether to sign up E-3 with my spot guaranteed, or to roll the dice and wait to renew my cert and come in E-4, but then my spot might not be there. The recruiters are having issues getting the same spot back for the same person if they didn't take it when it was available. Looks like I'm going to MEPS for my physical either Wednesday or Thursday.If you go in as an E3, you'll get the promotion to E4 in 18-24 months after you join.

You'll get the same job, the same responsibilities, and the same respect as an E3 or E4. You'll just get slightly lower pay. The lower pay doesn't matter so much for drill, but it might make a difference for a deployment. Soldiers who go in as E4 CAN get promoted to E5 sergeant sooner in theory, but it is unlikely to happen in practice.

Fire_Medic
10-20-2008, 12:22
If you go in as an E3, you'll get the promotion to E4 in 18-24 months after you join.

You'll get the same job, the same responsibilities, and the same respect as an E3 or E4. You'll just get slightly lower pay. The lower pay doesn't matter so much for drill, but it might make a difference for a deployment. Soldiers who go in as E4 CAN get promoted to E5 sergeant sooner in theory, but it is unlikely to happen in practice.


I think I'll just take the E-3, worried about waiting to renew my license to get E-4 and lose my spot. If I have no spot I'll never make a promotion, lol. Will keep you updated as to what happens. Thinking of shipping out in January, not 100% on that yet though. If I wait til after the baby's b-day in May then I'll be at basic in the summer. :dunno:

Fire_Medic
10-20-2008, 19:18
Biscuitsjam:

Since you've been answering me I'll ask you. Want to know what you think. My recruiter is an old buddy from high school and middle school so I trust him; but at the end of the day he's a recruiter. I talked to him today and he wants me to go thurs for my medical and to sign the contract and get sworn in. I told him that I found an online refresher class to renew my National EMT license and then I could test for it and that I could have it done in about a month. He said he didn't want me to wait because my spot is only on hold for 10 more days and I could lose it. He also said if I do wait he can't promise another medic spot will be there, and that if one is there might not be a bonus associated with it. I'm not asking you to tell me what to do, but rather looking for an outside opinion from someone who knows on whether this guy is BS'ing me or not. I would not want to lose my spot, but would like to go in one rank higher. I just don't like that I'm being rushed is all.

Thanks

Biscuitsjam
10-20-2008, 20:04
Fire_Medic, I don't know the answers to those questions.

Good luck.

Fire_Medic
10-21-2008, 21:09
Fire_Medic, I don't know the answers to those questions.

Good luck.

Not a problem, thanks for all of your help. I found some answers from a couple of retired guys. I'm off to MEPS on Thursday morning for my medical and to swear in and sign up. Will go in at the E-3 level for now and still renew my license. Even if they don't bump me up to E-4 afterwards I'll still be able to skip the first half of AIT, and that means 7 more weeks I'm at home and not away. I'll keep you posted, thanks.:supergrin:

Fire_Medic
10-23-2008, 15:42
Just got home after a long day at MEPS. I'm officially a member of the FLARNG now. I was signed in for MOS 68W at E-3. Got my signing bonus which will be paid in a lump sum after AIT due to my unit. I have been attached to the 1st BN, 124th Infantry unit here in Miami. Can't wait to get my training over with and be a regular member with my unit. As of right now my ship out date is May 22, 2009. I will most likely request to leave before that date arrives. Thanks Biscuitsjam for all your help on my questions. :supergrin:

noneyet
10-23-2008, 20:21
Congratulations. Welcome to the 53D IBCT. If you every get tired of being in an infantry battalion don't forget about C. Co 53d BSB. I wish I would have seen your post earlier. If you have any questions about OCS let me know. I have been in the guard (as an officer) for the last 4 years. Good luck.

Biscuitsjam
10-24-2008, 08:56
Congratulations. Glad to have you with us.

Fire_Medic
10-24-2008, 11:52
Congratulations. Welcome to the 53D IBCT. If you every get tired of being in an infantry battalion don't forget about C. Co 53d BSB. I wish I would have seen your post earlier. If you have any questions about OCS let me know. I have been in the guard (as an officer) for the last 4 years. Good luck.


Thank you, we'll be in touch soon.:supergrin:

Fire_Medic
10-24-2008, 11:53
Congratulations. Glad to have you with us.

Thank you, glad to be with you.:cool: